Barriers? Barkers? Methods to Keep Ducks From Swimming in Your Pool

Barriers, Barkers, and More

Duck in Swimming Pool, Galapagos Isles
Tim Graham / Getty Images

There may not be a foolproof method to keep ducks out of your swimming pool, but there are certainly effective ways to deter ducks from making your community or backyard swimming pool their own. 

The biggest downside of waterfowl in your swimming pool is the remains that the ducks leave, staining the swimming pool bottom and the pool deck—not to mention the bacteria and germs.

You may have heard stories from friends and neighbors about the various items they have used to keep the ducks away—inflatable toys such as dolphins, sharks, people, and even snakes. Unfortunately, the ducks very quickly realize that these inflatables are no threat and are soon back in the pool, cuddling right up to what was supposed to be an inflatable deterrent. The same is true of rubber snakes and other seemingly scary creatures.

Methods to Keep Ducks Out of a Swimming Pool

Mechanical devices such as owls with wings that flap in the wind or noisemakers may scare away the ducks for a day or so, but they quickly return. Here are some more effective methods to deter those swimming pool-loving ducks.

  • A dog:  Ducks hate dogs and dogs are not fond of ducks. Dogs are one of their natural predators, and barking alone should scare the ducks away. If you have a dog that will go in the water after the ducks, this should do the trick. However, if your dog isn't inclined to swim, the ducks will just swim around out of reach.  SIDE NOTE: If you do get a dog or a puppy, take it in the pool and teach it where the pool steps are located, even if your dog is not inclined to go swimming. If your dog should fall in, it won't be able to pull itself out over the edge. Also, keep in mind that swimming pools with vinyl liners may be damaged by a dog's nails.
  • Solar cover and other barriers: While keeping your pool heated and devoid of debris, solar covers also prevent ducks from swimming and pooping in your water (though there may be excrement on the cover). You can also try bird netting, available at hardware stores and garden centers. It's fairly inexpensive and you can simply lay it over the surface of the pool and use bricks or sandbags to hold the edges down. You might not even need to cover the whole pool to deter them, but be prepared to untangle a bird if necessary.  Plastic sheeting or tarp may also work as a duck-deterring cover.
  • Poor cleaner: Ducks are frightened very easily, and they fear predators. An underwater automatic pool cleaner could look like a moving predator and scare them away.
  • Duck Off: This is a brand of pool chemical made by the Lo-Chlor company that breaks the surface tension of the water so that ducks can't float on the surface. However, if you don't like putting unneeded chemicals in the pool, try one of the other options first.